Hendrick Motorsports

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Recapping the Hendrick Marrow Program Half Marathon and 5K

CONCORD, N.C. (Dec. 5, 2009)—More than 115 runners participated in the Nov. 22 Hendrick Marrow Program Half Marathon 5K and Kids Dash that started from zMax Dragway in Concord.

Runners, like Kristin Akin, traveled from as far as Texas, Florida and Missouri to race the unique half marathon route that cut around the dragstrip and Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s 1.5-mile oval.

The most poignant part of the day came when Akin, a mother of two bone marrow transplant children Andrew and Matthew, was running her last stretch of her half marathon. Akin, who lost 10-month-old Andrew in September, traveled from Ballwin, Mo., to participate in the event. She tells her story here:

“The purpose of this run was multifold. Of course there was the physical aspect—I wanted to push myself as I have become mostly sedentary the last two-and-a-half years. I believe it is good to push ourselves from time to time to remember what we are really capable of.

“There was the support aspect—I absolutely had to support Rick Hendrick’s Foundation as he was so very generous to our family—picking up the cost for 500 people to join the registry in honor of Andrew. I had to be there.

“Then there was the emotional aspect—I knew this run would provide the opportunity for me to really grieve, process and take in all that has happened since August 2007. It was a hard run but I talked to Andrew and God often. I tried my best to think of all the kids that have passed from St. Louis Children’s and Cincinnati Children’s—I wanted them to know that their lives were not in vain.

“Many times I called on Andrew to help me, to keep me going, to lighten my load, as this was a very grueling race and I was not in top shape. But quit? Never! I made my way strong and steady until mile 11 and out of nowhere the course director greeted me on a bike. I was the last runner to come in, and he said that he had heard my story and was going to stay with me the remainder of the race. I was so very grateful because it was at that point I became physically overwhelmed with grief. I could hardly breathe as the tears just overflowed nonstop. I had to slow down a bit and try and catch my breath but my emotions got the best of me. The reality of what has happened, the fact that I will never get my son back, that we are still fighting to save Matthew was more than I could process. I truly was gasping for air.

“Slowly but surely I made my way to the very end of the course. I rounded the last corner to finish the run, and I quickly heard and saw all the runners and volunteers surrounding the finish line screaming my name. They cheered me on as if I was their best friend. Obviously, this took my already streaming tears into nothing short of hysteria. I was absolutely flabbergasted. All these people stayed around to cheer me on. Thanks to Courtney Hurd, Hendrick Marrow Program director, as I think she updated everyone as I was about to finish. I was moved beyond words and humbled to my knees. I could barely stand the love and affection that was being poured on me. It was the perfect ending to a perfect race. I will be forever grateful to each and every one of those people who helped me finish strong for my boys.”

Women’s Half Marathon Overall Open
1st Rebecca Thomason
2nd Bobbi Carter
3rd Reba McLaughlin

Women’s Half Marathon Overall Masters
1st Julia Horn
2nd Diane Filer
3rd Jan Pigeon

Men’s Half Marathon Overall Open
1st Ben Hovis
2nd George Linney
3rd Jason Page

Men’s Half Marathon Overall Masters
1st Tim Hennessey
2nd Kerry Seal
3rd Richard Hefner

Women’s 5K Overall Open
1st Sheila Wakeman
2nd Michele Hoheiser
3rd Sara Fabian

Women’s 5K Overall Masters
1st Michele Gibbs
2nd Portia Eley
3rd Amy Masterton
Men’s Overall 5K Open
1st Alejandro Arreola
2nd Chris Cave
3rd Andrew Kendall

Men’s Overall 5K Masters
1st Jeff Fabian
2nd Joey Arnold
3rd Bill Penn